Guide the bites
Captain Josh Fritz (352) 345-9304: Captain Josh reports that he had a great day on the rockfish. Fish congregate and work on rocky points and shorelines from the north Hudson to Pine Island. He had days with 30 fish landed using live sardines or pinfish. Its fishermen take some snooks with them. Most fish are medium to large slit size, but there are some oversized fish in the mix. The rising tide has been the best. Look for schools of mules, as the reds traveled with them. Captain Josh will start his shallow water grouper gag season this week. The fish begin to move on the limestone bottom between 8 and 12 feet of water west of Aripeka, where they will stay until the water temperature drops in the winter.
Captain Mike Manning (727) 243-8918: Captain Mike made a trip to 10 feet of water off Aripeka to test the grouper gag. Its fishermen have done well on live sardines and large diving caps, taking a limit of fine fish. He worked up to 12 feet of water, but the bait in his tank died due to a red tide. Current FWC tests show no red tides in the area, but there may be isolated patches of bad water moving around. Coastal, the best bet now is redfish. Captain Mike has a pal who has fished for big reds, trout and snooks at night between the Cotee and Anclote rivers, working the mouths of the streams with live bait.
Pasco & Pinellas tackle the store overview
Armed anglers (727) 945-1808: Captain Griff says the fishermen are taking pompano and clearing the Anclote power station discharge channel. Noah from the shop continues to do well with the big sharks on the pier there at night and early in the morning. He also reported catching half a dozen beautiful reds fishing in the mangroves in front of the Anclote Park boat launch on the river.
Cooper’s Shrimp Shack (727) 868-8736: Bill reports that anglers fishing Filman Bayou are recording good redfish catches. The canals in the Hudson region are giving up mangrove snapper and many are seeing non-biting snook. An angler reported catching gag keeper grouper in 18 feet of water. There were a few large mangrove snappers caught at about the same depth and shallower.
J&J Bait and Tackle II (727) 940-7928: James reports that the pompano and the permit moved into the discharge channel of the Anclote power plant. This bite will only improve when the water cools. The reds were a good bet on Sand Day and around Rocky Creek south of the Anclote River. Sea anglers fishing 60 feet of water and deeper catch Guardian-sized Red Grouper. Shallower rocks abandon the hogfish.
Trading company Tarpon (727) 937-1488: Larry says schools of blue fish have appeared off Anclote Key beach and north of the sand bar. A regular at the store picked up a few big docks just inside the Anclote River, the largest at 42 inches. Reds were taken around the mouth of the river, around loots and mangroves along the south side. Some reds were landed on the causeway of Fred Howard Park.
The Rusty Bucket (727) 645-6598: Bill says his fishermen take big snooks in the Cotee River. Fishermen fish from the mouth to the bridges where the water is mostly soft. Trolling catches or throwing live bait under bridges takes them. Bill says Captain Dustin Bush hammered the great mangrove snapper off rocks 5 miles offshore. The 20 inch fish limits arrive in just 15 to 20 minutes. There have been schools of big black drums wandering from the Anclote River to the Côtee River along the rocky shores. The fish take live shrimp and weigh 20 to 30 pounds, so be sure to use sturdy equipment.
Overview of the Hernando hardware store
Dixie Lee Bait (352) 596-5151: Mark says the offshore mangrove snapper bite was excellent. Anglers fishing for rocks and structures between 25 and 45 feet of water catch very large fish on live shrimp on jig heads. Some of the same areas are giving up beautiful cobias, and schools of mackerel have become the norm. Near the coasts, the reds congregate on rocky shores, around the mouths of streams and above oyster bars when the water is high. Live shrimp and pinfish work, and gold spoons have worked well. Grouper gag find their way in shallower water.
Daddy D’s Bayport Bait (352) 556-2163: Cory reports that anglers find a good number of reds around rocky shores, points and mouths of streams. The fish are in schools, so it is possible to take several fish in the same place. Live shrimp or pinfish work well. There is a lot of mangrove snapper in the canals and inlets, as well as canal detritus. Anglers fishing at night from Bayport Pier report catching good cobia on live bait.
Bait & Tackle from Hernando Beach (352) 610-4315: Matthew says he gets a lot of great rockfish reports. The fish congregate and move along the rocky shores of the islands and outer points along the coast of Hernando. Live shrimp, pinfish or sardines worked just as well. Most fish run from medium size to the top slot size. Some snooks are caught in the same places on the same baits. Trout fishing remains slow, but by fishing himself Matthew has connected with a few fish and he thinks that as we move into the fall the bite will resume.
Mary’s Fish Camp (352) 597-3474: Bell said many anglers had gone angling and hooking for mullet over the weekend. They were not disappointed, as there is a lot of fish caught on the dike behind the camp store. There were a few jumbos taken. There were two beautiful reds caught behind the store by fishermen using live shrimp.